A neck lift is a procedure that corrects the visible signs of aging in the neck and jawline. Sometimes referred to as a lower rhytidectomy, a neck lift addresses several issues that cause us to lose the youthful, angular qualities of the lower face as we age.
Neck lift surgery can achieve the following:
- Remove excess fat from the neck & under the chin
- Remove loose, excess skin
- Tighten lax neck muscles
- Create a more attractive jawline
- Smooth sagging jowls
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The Beauty of the Neck
The neck and jawline are both essential components that contribute to an aesthetically pleasing face. Think of the typical male or female model you often see when flipping through the pages of a magazine or driving past a billboard. Most all of these striking individuals share one common feature – a sharp, attractive jawline and a taut, smooth neck. A well-defined jawline and a contoured neck have been a sign of beauty since the era of the Egyptians.
When we are younger, there is a more distinct separation between our face and our neck. However, as we age, the youthful definition of a once sharp and contoured jawline gradually begins to blur. These changes are most apparent from our side profile view. For this reason, it’s not something most people notice so much when looking straight in a mirror. It’s usually when we see ourselves in a photo that we really notice the change.
What Causes the Neck to Sag?
We tend to focus most of our anti-aging rituals on our facial skin, and it’s not uncommon for people to neglect the neck in their daily skin care routine. Therefore, the neck often begins to show early signs of aging before the face. As we get older, we naturally begin to lose the angled jaw and sleek neck we once had in our youth.
The natural aging process causes skin to lose its elasticity. The result is a gradual south migration of skin, tissue and fat. Fatty deposits begin to accumulate around the jowls, beneath the chin and along the jawline. In addition, our neck muscles also begin to loosen and stretch, producing unattractive bands toward the center of the neck.
Neck laxity and the accumulation of fat beneath the chin and jaw is typically something that we start to notice in our forties, and unfortunately, it continues to get more pronounced with each passing decade. The good news is, for those who are not pleased with the way their neck is aging, there is a way to restore a more youthful, sleek contour to the lower face and neck. Having a neck lift is the most effective method for removing fat deposits in the neck, jowls and beneath the chin, while tightening neck muscles to restore a more aesthetically pleasing angle between the chin and the neck
How is Neck Lift Surgery Performed?
Neck lift surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia with intravenous (IV) sedation. The procedure typically takes between two and three hours to complete.
The scope of neck lift surgery varies based on the individual needs and goals of each patient. Some patients may be able to achieve the results they desire through a simple liposuction procedure that removes excess fat deposits from the neck, jaw and chin area.
However, more dramatic results can be achieved by removing excess skin along with the fat and tightening the underlying neck muscles. During neck lift surgery, small incisions are made under the chin and/or behind the ears. Excess fat is removed through these incisions via liposuction or surgical excision.
In order to get rid of the appearance of loose bands in the center of the neck (platysmal bands), your surgeon will tighten and restructure the underlying neck muscles. This process is known as a Platysmaplasty. In some cases, a small section of the platysma muscle may be removed to achieve optimal results. Platysmaplasty is a key part of the neck lift procedure when it comes to creating a sharper and more defined chin-neck angle.
Once the surgeon has finished the necessary work involving the underlying tissues, the skin is redraped and pulled taut. The incisions are sutured closed and any excess skin is removed at this point.
Recovery after Neck Lift Surgery
As with any surgical procedure, neck lift surgery involves some downtime and a period of healing. Neck lift recovery times vary from patient to patient based on several factors, including the extent of the procedure and the patient’s overall health.
Most patients are able to return to work in the range of 1 – 2 weeks. Patients should expect some swelling and bruising during the initial phase of recovery. The swelling will typically go down after 48 hours and most bruising will be gone within two weeks.
When Will my Results Be Visible?
Although you will see some results from your neck lift immediately, these results will continue to improve over time as residual swelling goes down and the incisions heal. The final results from your neck lift procedure may take anywhere from 3 – 6 months to become fully evident. When they do, most patients look significantly younger and slimmer.
A well-toned neck coupled with a lifted, distinguished jawline work together to enhance the profile and give the face a more refined and elegant appearance. So long as you continue to lead a healthy lifestyle, the results of your neck lift surgery will be long-lasting. A neck lift procedure can be done on its own or combined with other cosmetic procedures like a facelift or eyelid surgery for an even more dramatic transformation.